Thursday, April 10, 2008

Barone Analysis: HRC/Obama

A very interesting item.

...there's another tribal divide going on here, one that separates voters more profoundly than even race (well, maybe not more profoundly than race in Mississippi but in other states). That's the divide between academics and Jacksonians.

...Academics and public employees (and of course many, perhaps most, academics in the United States are public employees) love the arts of peace and hate the demands of war. Economically, defense spending competes for the public-sector dollars that academics and public employees think are rightfully their own. More important, I think, warriors are competitors for the honor that academics and public employees think rightfully belongs to them. Jacksonians, in contrast, place a high value on the virtues of the warrior and little value on the work of academics and public employees. They have, in historian David Hackett Fischer's phrase, a notion of natural liberty: People should be allowed to do what they want, subject to the demands of honor. If someone infringes on that liberty, beware: The Jacksonian attitude is, "If you attack my family or my country, I'll kill you." And he (or she) means it. If you want to hear an eloquent version, listen to Sen. Zell Miller's speech endorsing George W. Bush at the 2004 Republican National Convention. The academic who hears the Rev. Jeremiah Wright declaiming, "God damn America," is not unnerved. He hears this sort of thing on campus all the time. The Jacksonian who watches the tape sees an enemy of everything he holds dear.

This analysis fits within the broad lines of the pattern discerned by Carl Rove and Mark Stricherz (mentioned here and here) although the analytical slices are different: Stricherz on Catholics and old-line Labor, and Rove's on old-line Labor (blue-collar Dems).

Barone's breakdown adds a layer of interpretation which appears to be consistent with those analyses, albeit there are differences.

If Barone is correct, as he usually is, this underscores the 'three-party' view of elections: committed Democrats, committed Republicans, and the "Jacksonians" (his word) which are, in essence, independent.

HT: Tom McMahon.

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